Extreme engineering for Cambridge youngsters and their adults

Research students from Cambridge University's EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Graphene Technology recently attended an outreach event hosted by the Cambridge Science Centre

Over the course of the day, several hundred mostly young children and their parents looked at and learned about extreme engineering, graphene included.

CDT students demonstrated the famous sticky-tape method for producing graphene from pencil traces on paper, and encouraged the visitors to try it themselves. The results of this simple but effective graphene 'exfoliation' technique were then studied through a microscope. Parents meanwhile looked on, with some of them asking searching questions of the graphene scientists.

"It was great to see both the parents and their kids interested in graphene technology, and engaging with our activities," said CDT research student Vinay Malhotra. "We were struck by their optimistic enthusiasm for graphene and its future applications!"

Other hands-on demonstrations included a graphene-based drum produced by Cambridge printed electronics pioneer Novalia, the construction of model molecules with marshmallows and sticks, and an investigation into the motive effects of surface tension in a bowl of water. 

Image: Cambridge University research student Philippa Hooper with a young graphene scientist in the making (photo by Catherine Taylor, copyright © 2015 University of Cambridge).

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